MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index
 FAQ & Terms of UseFAQ & Terms Of Use   Wiggler RadioMW Radio   Muff Wiggler TwitterTwitter   Support the site @ PatreonPatreon 
 SearchSearch   RegisterSign up   Log inLog in 
WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

Could someone explain to me how you use Matrix mixer
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  
Author Could someone explain to me how you use Matrix mixer
Cfcarter
I dont get it. 4 in and 4 out, for example. Whats the purpose of that? seriously, i just don't get it

What do you use it for? Give me some inspiration!!
Pelsea
Think of it as a patch bay with knobs.
cptnal
I use mine mainly for audio routing. Up to four sound sources and destinations and each can go to any other (including feedback) under modulation. You can also get funky modulation combos, trigger patterns, waveforms... Once you start to get it your head starts to spin with the possibilities. I'm still working on it. This is fun!
MarcelP
I use mine mainly for CV routing. Various Batumi outputs up 3 or four inputs, you get four shades of wobbliness on the outputs - mix to taste. Then (as noted above) feed some of that wobbliness back up the Batumi inputs. Start subtle, get bonkers. It’s a sort of CV junction/exchange sat in the middle of a patch.
mskala
It can do basically the same thing that people call "sends" in the context of external mixing boards. You've got four audio sources, you've got four effects or other destinations; you can choose how much of each audio source to send to each destination.
Rex Coil 7
It's like having four separate mixers, each mixer having four separate inputs.

Or perhaps four, 4ch mixers.

Maybe this diagram I made up will help. Each ~dot~ is a level control knob. So IN-A is connected to 4 mixers. IN-B is also connected to 4 mixers. And so on. Each mixer can have it's own mix of all four input signals.

Pelsea
Here's an excerpt from my class notes:



Quote:
The matrix mixer is an antique design that has recently regained favor in the modular community. The layout is simple, just rows and columns of knobs. The rows represent inputs and the columns connect to outputs. Raising a knob connects the associated input and output. Many synthesists use them as a kind of patchbay, because it is quick and easy to reroute a signal during a performance. Back in the days when this was the only kind of mixer available, studio engineers developed a set of tricks to make complicated operations easy.

• An entire row or column can be turned off by running your thumb along the edge of the knobs. (With some knobs you might have to do this twice.)
• Two knobs can be “locked” together with a rubber band. Thus turning one turns its partner.
• If the rubber band is in a figure eight, turning one knob down will turn the partner up. This is the way to perform pans.



The first studio I worked in had an enormous matrix mixer for the console, it was about five feet wide and had 24 columns of 8 3" knobs. It was mounted in a table. Anyone doing mixes had to run rubber bands everywhere.
MarcelP
Brilliant! Last time I put an elastic band round my knob - well never mind, this seems a much better idea! Thanks for the tip!
cptnal
MarcelP wrote:
Brilliant! Last time I put an elastic band round my knob - well never mind, this seems a much better idea! Thanks for the tip!


lolspew
Cfcarter
Cheers! Grateful for all the answers!!
ersatzplanet
A couple of uses I use mine for (I have two 4ms VCAM):

One is for quadraphonic mixing. Send any of the four inputs to one or more of the corners of the room (or between). Use a quadrature LFO (I have the Doepfer one) to pan the sound around the room.

To simulate a vector synthesizer. Fours sources that fade between each other like a WaveStation does, They can be different waveforms on a VCO (or VCOs) or other sources. I use outputs from sample loop players. You can use a quad envelope generator that has a EOR out to cycle through the four EG in order to program how the sounds fade into each other. Also I use a Doepfer Morph controller which allows using a slider or Joystick to do it.

A standard stereo mixer with two Aux sends. I do this with the Aux feeding a Echophon and Z5000. It allows rhymic echo sends (only certain notes of the sequence get echo'd) and dynamic echo sends (echos or reverb that swells at the end of phrases or at the end of the bar)

They are big modules typically but well worth it to me. I also have a Doepfer quad VCA mixer which does the WaveStation thing well too in a smaller space.
starthief
You can set up a matrix mixer to arrange how one input goes through three effects -- changing the order, creating feedback paths, and wet/dry all based on knob turns.

With a bipolar 4x4 matrix mixer you can convert L/R to mid/side and mid/side to L/R.

You can feed it gates, and then set the knobs so that each gate contributes a different voltage level to the outputs -- sort of a tunable DAC with 4 parallel outputs, or a 16-step sequencer (if used with a clock distributor and sequential switch).

All kinds of uses smile
mt3
Matrix mixer should be one of the first modules owned. One use/way to view it is as a modulation permutation distribution module.
WMD SSM is one of the best modules ever invented.

Another way to look at it is how they are employed in many software synths for routing modulation to various synth parameters.
Sinamsis
I use the SSM as well. I like having four smoothed random inputs going to four different destination, and slowly sequencing through them for abrupt jumps in the modulation. Otherwise routing four audio inputs to four separate outputs. Routing gate and CV inputs pair to different destinations. Precision adder. Also built in comparator. There's so much the SSM can do. I think a matrix mixer that can be sequenced is just so versatile and useful. That said, the SSM is very different than something like a VCAM or other mixer matrix where you can do more than unity mixing.
mt3
Sinamsis wrote:
That said, the SSM is very different than something like a VCAM or other mixer matrix where you can do more than unity mixing.


Can't believe I forgot that crucial detail.
I agree with your other points, especially the comparators. The SSM Expander is crucial as well. Multidimensional polyrhytmic possibilities.
milkshake
Rob Hordijk has an active matrix.
It is simular to the picture Rex coil has posted, but every node (crossing of input and output) has not a potmeter or switch, like on the modules mentioned. It has an insert point.
This allows you to add your own potmeters or switches and anything else you can come up with.
In practice, I use it most as simply an active multiple, this allows me to for instance route pitch cv to multiple sources without loss.
But I also very often insert vca's into the nodes for mixing with other cv signals. Or insert stomp boxes into the synth. Or invert signals. Or use a quantizer. Or a wavefolder. Or a filter. Or... you get the picture.

It's the heart of the system, I couldn't live without it.

Why doesn't every modular synth have one?
lisa
Pelsea wrote:
Think of it as a patch bay with knobs.

I get that logic. However, a four channel patch bay? That’s almost pointless, isn’t it?

Many seem to use matrix mixers more like happy accident machines. Stick some random stuff in there, connect all the outputs to random inputs, turn the knobs randomly until something cool happens. Some matrix mixers have saved states that you can switch between using CV= even more random.
cptnal
milkshake wrote:
It is simular to the picture Rex coil has posted, but every node (crossing of input and output) has not a potmeter or switch, like on the modules mentioned. It has an insert point.


The Rebel Tech Mix 04 is similar. Great fun but it eats modulation. woah
starthief
lisa wrote:
Pelsea wrote:
Think of it as a patch bay with knobs.

I get that logic. However, a four channel patch bay? That’s almost pointless, isn’t it?


Nope! For example, given an incoming mono signal and an outgoing mono signal, a 4x4 matrix will let you rearrange, mix, and patch feedback and wet/dry among three different effects without moving patch cables. If it's something like Maze or the upcoming u-He CVilization which stores the routings, so much the better. Guitarists pay through the nose for that kind of utility on their pedalboards.

More typically I just use mine for wet/dry/feedback with one effect and maybe two inputs and a DC offset I can dial in.
cptnal
mt3 made the point about software synths, but this functionality is baked into hardware synths and we don't even think about it. Look at all the synths where you can send the same LFO or envelope to the filter, VCA, PWM...
milkshake
cptnal wrote:
milkshake wrote:
It is simular to the picture Rex coil has posted, but every node (crossing of input and output) has not a potmeter or switch, like on the modules mentioned. It has an insert point.


The Rebel Tech Mix 04 is similar. Great fun but it eats modulation. woah

That is a very cool module.
It has a cv input on every node to control the vca of that node, if I'm not mistaken. And that would indeed take a huge amount of modulation sources. I also like it that you can (a)symmetrically distort the signal, that is very clever.

But the Rob Hordijk matrix is quite different, it has on every node both an input and an output, I wasn't clear about that. And therefore you need to use a trs cable, just like the inserts on most prosumer mixing desks. The accompanied node processor module has bipolar vca's, quantizer, waveshaper, 20dB gain module, potmeters (or midi, if you want that), that also accepts trs cables. Of cause you can also use a trs to 2 ts cable to insert anything else you can think of into a node, or one of the node processor modules.
If you want to unity mix signals, you can insert 2 trs plugs that have the tip and ring connected inside. If you want to mix - 3dB or - 6dB or anything else, you just solder the appropriate resistor into the plug, just like on the EMS Putney synth pinmatrix.
If you insert a ts cable into a node, then the input is available and the output path is shorted to ground. In this way it functions as a buffered multiple.
It sounds complex, but it's very intuitive to use and doesn't eat modulation sources.



You are also completely right that most synths have a matrix mixer build in. Some are even named after that function, Oberheim synths come to mind...
peripatitis
One thing I do often with the matrix (livestock's maze), is to use it along a few oscillators for changing the fm routings between them.
Another option is to use it with a multiPoleoutput filter (like the vdl6, hdl6, etc) to derive different filter types and interpolate between them.

And of course cv modulation, you could have 4 different mixes of cv control and interpolate between variations.
For example let's say you have a couple of envelopes and lfo's as inputs. You could save a preset where output 1 is only receiving one lfo, two lfo's, one lfo and an envelope and the whole lot and move between them manually or with cv.

It does take some preparation, but it is an easy way to add a bit more complex movements.

p.s
waldorf is probably one of the few synth makers that almost always incorporated a central matrix along mathematical operations, logic, etc and that has always been on of their biggest "weapons". However it was not for everyone..
dooj88
peripatitis wrote:
livestock's maze


i am obsessed with this module! it looks like endless possibilities for fun. i am slightly torn though, by not having a knob(s) for immediate fade/cross-fading like on doepfer's matrix mixer. it seems like to get this same functionality i'd set up a morphing preset?

either way, the enhancements are well worth the tradeoffs of immediacy.
memes_33
peripatitis wrote:
One thing I do often with the matrix (livestock's maze), is to use it along a few oscillators for changing the fm routings between them.


i did this last night on my buchla 258r dual oscillator, routing each oscillator to the (205r) matrix ins, then matrix outs to each oscillator's FM input. cool stuff indeed. routed other outputs to a delay and then to monitor and spent about an hour doing some cool drone-y stuff just messing with those parameters.

i use the 205r matrix mixer for dub-style routing as well, with sources being available to send to delay, reverb, distortion, etc. i even put red, yellow, and green (and black) knobs on the pots to make routing more intuitive and give a nod to the Jamaican dub pioneers!
peripatitis
dooj88 wrote:
peripatitis wrote:
livestock's maze


i am obsessed with this module! it looks like endless possibilities for fun. i am slightly torn though, by not having a knob(s) for immediate fade/cross-fading like on doepfer's matrix mixer. it seems like to get this same functionality i'd set up a morphing preset?

either way, the enhancements are well worth the tradeoffs of immediacy.


Yes, it doesn't have those knobs for imeddiate action, you can howver select a number of rootings and change all their values with the encoder at the same time.
Kabuki
Don't sleep on the 4ms VCA Matrix! I love the fact that you can mute each of the 16 nodes, making it immediately playable
mosorensen
I know this is an old'ish thread, but I have been looking at matrix mixers lately. They are fascinating modules, but I have the same problem as the OP, I don't really grasp their purpose and how I would use one.

I have read the thread, looked at the main modules, and I am pretty sure I understand the mechanics of how they work. But I have a bunch of questions:

1) Most have the same number of inputs and outputs, but for the applications that I can imagine, it would make more sense to have more inputs (to mix and switch between) into a smaller number of outputs. Which leads directly to my next question ...

2) When using a matrix as a patch bay, why not just have a few small independent mixers next to each other? (something like Malekko "Mix 4" but there are many similar ones) That would give the same mixing functionality, with the added flexibility that they would not be restricted to using the same inputs (of course, you could still mult the inputs, when you need the same inputs in different mixers)

3) Another application of matrix mixers is to automatically switch the configuration of the patch. I can understand the benefit, for example, of switching between two different streams of triggers into an envelope or switching the routing of which VCO goes into the filter. But again, I would think that I can do that more flexibly with two independent switches. In particular, a single matrix mixer would switch the entire configuration at the same time. If I want to, say, switch the triggers to the envelope and the VCOs to the filter at independent times, it seems much easier to set up with two independent switches.

I am probably missing something, because I see that smart people praise matrix mixers, but I just don't get it. Maybe they are just not for me.

TL;DR: Why use a matrix mixer when independent mixers and switches seem more flexible?
cptnal
When you mention many independent mixers it makes me think you're focusing on the many-ins-one-out conception of a mixer. What sets a matrix mixer apart is the many outs.

It's one member of a class of my favourite kind of module - those that do bugger all by themselves, but which add a completely new dimension to your rack.

Where they really shine for me is feedback patches. Not just audio, but CV too. And they encourage you to look for feedback paths where you wouldn't have without it.

If you have 20hp and to spare I'd recommend just trying out a A138M. I did, and a week later I bought another. I was so blown away by the possibilities that I knew I'd want to use it more than once in a patch.

Here's a couple of my favourites:

https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=221373

https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=218986

A word about the Mix 04. A great module, but it lacks pots so doesn't have the hands-on immediacy of something that does.
Prunesquallor
Seriously, this topic has been discussed many times. Have a look here and check out the linked topics in that thread...

https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1226245

Having said that, uses that haven't been mentioned include effects inserts and a 16-step sequencer (combined with a couple of utilities).
artieTwelve
Well now I'm thinking about putting rubber bands on my Renee... Great, now I'll have to steal some from work.
crisponline
feedback, feedback, always feedback, more feedback







(feedback)
MarcelP
mosorensen wrote:


I am probably missing something, because I see that smart people praise matrix mixers, but I just don't get it. Maybe they are just not for me.

TL;DR: Why use a matrix mixer when independent mixers and switches seem more flexible?


My usual use of a matrix mixer (Doepfer) is as a central performance control. A typical patch would have 3 outputs of Batumi going to inputs 2,3 and 4 with inputs 1 unpatched (on the Doepfer unit this means control knobs 1 mix a DC voltage used as an offset. The four outputs are then multed to various CV inputs perhaps including the Batumi frequency input and/or VCAs that are also part of a feedback chain. One can then achieve a central control “panel” where one has manual control over multiple effects within a patch. Or a confusing mess of modulation... Either way it is a fun way of controlling modules that need lots of modulation (any Noise Engineering oscillator for example, or multiple filters, delay feedback paths, etc, etc). Like others I have 2 of these relatively cheap modules and they are in constant use.
mosorensen
Thanks for the explanations. I have read all the previous threads (thanks Prunesquallor), looked at all the modules, thought hard about the "big guns" and the "torque and Angle conversion of tuning" (thanks Edenney), and really tried to wrap my head around matrix mixers. The best I can do is:

1) They are a cheaper and smaller way to get a modulation patch bay (thanks MarcelIP), which doesn't really do anything that I couldn't do with a couple of my small independent utility mixers (like Malekko Mix 4 and Happy Nerding 3xMIA).

2) They do feedback, feedback, always feedback, and more feedback ... which I can also do with my small independent utility mixers.

They are probably not for me. But this was helpful.
Graham Hinton
mosorensen wrote:
1) They are a cheaper and smaller way to get a modulation patch bay (thanks MarcelIP), which doesn't really do anything that I couldn't do with a couple of my small independent utility mixers ).


...and a LOT of mults and patch cables. Then you won't be able to see what you are doing and it won't be pitch accurate.

Quote:

2) They do feedback, feedback, always feedback, and more feedback ... which I can also do with my small independent utility mixers.

They are probably not for me.


You still don't get it. Maybe Steevio's Live Performance Tutorial will help.
mosorensen
Graham Hinton wrote:
mosorensen wrote:
1) They are a cheaper and smaller way to get a modulation patch bay (thanks MarcelIP), which doesn't really do anything that I couldn't do with a couple of my small independent utility mixers ).


...and a LOT of mults and patch cables. Then you won't be able to see what you are doing and it won't be pitch accurate.

Quote:

2) They do feedback, feedback, always feedback, and more feedback ... which I can also do with my small independent utility mixers.

They are probably not for me.


You still don't get it. Maybe Steevio's Live Performance Tutorial will help.



You're obviously right, and I don't really get it (also I am old and grumpy) ... smile

That said, I did watch Steevio's tutorial on YouTube yesterday. The way he patches his A-154/155 sequencers through precision adders and quantizers into the SwitchMix (made by you) is fascinating. It is an inspired way for evolving generative melodes. Maybe the way to think about this use of the SwitchMix is that it allows faster and more flexible routing of V/oct signals to different VCOs to create more immediate and dramatic melodic shifts and movements.

My system is too small to truly benefit from that, but it makes perfect sense. I am struggling with immediate and dramatic movements in my sounds and melodies.

EDIT: typos
cptnal
Graham Hinton wrote:
mosorensen wrote:
1) They are a cheaper and smaller way to get a modulation patch bay (thanks MarcelIP), which doesn't really do anything that I couldn't do with a couple of my small independent utility mixers ).


...and a LOT of mults and patch cables. Then you won't be able to see what you are doing and it won't be pitch accurate.

Quote:

2) They do feedback, feedback, always feedback, and more feedback ... which I can also do with my small independent utility mixers.

They are probably not for me.


You still don't get it. Maybe Steevio's Live Performance Tutorial will help.


I'd missed that, so thanks. Even if you don't do techno you can learn a lot from Steevio's workflow.
Graham Hinton
mosorensen wrote:
Maybe the way to think about this use of the SwitchMix is that it allows faster and more flexible routing of V/oct signals to different VCOs to create more immediate and dramatic melodic shifts and movements.


That's just one way, it's more than that.

I think your difficulty is that you are coming from patching a small system where you tend to connect up modules in chains. If your first synth had been a VCS3 where you can only patch with a matrix you would miss being able to connect to multiple destinations and mix from multiple sources very easily. To do that on a modular system you have to really plan how you allocate mults and think it out which takes away the immediacy.

The other thing is that you have been looking at 4x4 matrices which do not really provide enough choices. The first thing you would find is that you really need a 5x5 and then a 6x6 and so on... Being able to choose, say, 3 inputs from eight to one destination and another three to another, and then add one in common is quite different from only having 4 to 4.

The usefulness of a matrix increases geometrically with its area, but you also have to consider accuracy and whether you can route audio and CV equally.
Prunesquallor
Are you still making the SwitchMix, Graham? I'd heard it'd been discontinued.
ersatzplanet
mosorensen wrote:

1) Most have the same number of inputs and outputs, but for the applications that I can imagine, it would make more sense to have more inputs (to mix and switch between) into a smaller number of outputs. Which leads directly to my next question ...


Some modules like the 4ms VCAMatrix have internal headers that allow stacking or chaining units to double the rows or columns or both. It gets big fast of course.
Graham Hinton
Prunesquallor wrote:
Are you still making the SwitchMix, Graham? I'd heard it'd been discontinued.


There was a bad batch of switches a couple of years back which forced me to stop making them, but this has now been resolved. SwitchMix II will be available from December. Get in line behind Steevio who will be field testing the first one.

Meanwhile there is also MatrixMix, which is SwitchMix with knobs on, and PinMix.
Prunesquallor
Graham Hinton wrote:
Prunesquallor wrote:
Are you still making the SwitchMix, Graham? I'd heard it'd been discontinued.


There was a bad batch of switches a couple of years back which forced me to stop making them, but this has now been resolved. SwitchMix II will be available from December. Get in line behind Steevio who will be field testing the first one.

Meanwhile there is also MatrixMix, which is SwitchMix with knobs on, and PinMix.


Very interesting! Could you supply a custom banana option?
Graham Hinton
Prunesquallor wrote:
Could you supply a custom banana option?


All our modules have balanced I/O on bantam jacks as standard and so can connect to anything with a suitable cable. If you want minijack or banana connectors it costs more and you lose the balanced capability and then you can only connect to that type.

If you have the room a 4HP panel with minjacks or bananas, or both on 6HP, can be placed at the sides and normalled through the bantams. Then you can connect to anything.

Your choice.
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  
Page 1 of 2
Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group